3 Cardinals players who have been disappointing, 2 who have been pleasant surprises

St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
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Tyler O'Neill has been a colossal bust for the Cardinals in 2023

It isn't particularly fair to put a guy who is injured on blast, but Tyler O'Neill's case is a weird one and also one that may just be the Cardinals fault. O'Neill is an excellent offensive player when he is healthy, but the issue has been that he has perennially dealt with injuries. Issues with his shoulder and hamstrings have kept him out in the past and he is currently on the injured list with a lower back strain.

Things seem to have come to a head with O'Neill and the Cardinals when Marmol called O'Neill out for what he considered to be a lack of hustle. By most accounts, O'Neill wants out of St. Louis at this point and he seems like a prime candidate to get traded by the deadline whether or not the Cardinals are buyers or sellers. That is a pretty rough situation for a guy that was expected to help make up the core of the Cardinals' offense in the coming years.

Chris Stratton has made real strides for the Cardinals in 2023

We have to give relievers love when we can and Chris Stratton is our guy here. Unlike the rotation, the bullpen has done really well for itself this year as a top 10 unit in all of baseball and a big reason why has been the play of Stratton (although Ryan Helsey being awesome has certainly helped...but we already knew that).

In his 27 appearances this season, Stratton's 4.30 ERA doesn't exactly stick out. However, his FIP has beem MUCH lower at 3.04 which seems to indicate some bad luck on balls in play. His strikeout rate is right in line with his career norms at 9.56 K/9, but he has made huge strides with his walk rate as that is way down to 2.39 BB/9. While he is a free agent after this season, this is a bullpen arm St. Louis should absolutely look to bring back.

Jack Flaherty has been pretty disappointing with the Cardinals this season

Finally, we come to Jack Flaherty as our final disappointment. It wasn't that long ago when it looked like Flaherty was set to become an ace for the Cardinals for a long time. His 2019 season (especially the second half) was the stuff that dreams are made of. Unfortunately, that is now how things have played out the last few seasons.

Issues with his shoulder in 2021 and 2022 cost him a bunch of playing time and while the hope was that he had put those problems behind him, the 2023 season has not gone well. In 15 starts this season, Flaherty has posted a 4.95 ERA which is his worst mark since his rookie season. He is walking way too many batters at 4.95 BB/9 and while the strikeouts are still there for the most part, Flaherty has looked like a shadow of his former self. That stinks for him because he is about to hit free agency this offseason and he could end up getting traded at the deadline this year.

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